Tag Archives: Nick Booth

Do hyperlocal and student websites fall foul of the new press regulator and libel laws?

leveson regulation guidance

The DCMS pubished this image to clarify the definition of “a relevant published” under proposals published in early 2013.

Nick Booth left a Press Recognition Panel consultation under the impression that non profit hyperlocals were going to be exposed by the new regulation system. Then legal experts suggested he’d got it wrong. So which is it? In a special post cross-published from Podnosh, Nick tries to tease out a complex law and ask: ‘when someone sues now, who pays?’.

Last week I spent a couple of hours at a consultation in Birmingham run by the Press Recognition Panel, which is the regulator set up to oversee the creation of (a?) new press regulator(s) following the Leveson Inquiry and the Royal Charter. (I know this has already got a bit “what?”, but stick with me.)

I was there because I’m interested in what it means for hyperlocal websites (which we have helped people set up over a number of years). Especially the implications for those run for the love of their community,  sites like B31voices or WV11 –  not run for the money. Talk About Local has already questioned whether hyperlocals fall within Leveson and I wanted to be clear one way or the other…

So this is how my thinking has evolved…. if you find an asterix next to an assertion I’m not 100% sure this is right. Continue reading

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Which blog platform should I use? A blog audit

When people start out blogging they often ask what blogging platform they should use – WordPress or Blogger? Tumblr or Posterous? It’s impossible to give an answer, because the first questions should be: who is going to use it, how, and what and who for?

To illustrate how the answers to those questions can help in choosing the best platform, I decided to go through the 35 or so blogs I have created, and why I chose the platforms that they use. As more and more publishing platforms have launched, and new features added, some blogs have changed platforms, while new ones have made different choices to older ones. Continue reading

Hyperlocal voices interviewed elsewhere

While I’ve been blogging my series of interviews with hyperlocal bloggers I’ve come across a few more elsewhere that may be of interest – and thought it worth linking to them here.

Talk About Local is running a ‘Ten Questions’ series of interviews along the same lines.

Nick Booth of Podnosh (which I work for) is writing a blog about hyperlocal bloggers on the BBC website. He has also  interviewed Steph Jennings and James Clark of WV11 – audio embedded below:

[audio:http://audioboo.fm/boos/194465-steph-jennings-and-james-clark-of-wv11.mp3%5D

I recently had Ventnor Blog founder Simon Perry talk to students on the MA in Online Journalism that I teach at Birmingham City University. Samuel Negredo filmed part of his visit, which can be seen on his blog post about the visit and is also embedded below:

Also interviewed elsewhere – by Philip John – is Brownhills Bob.

Lara O’Reilly interviews Dave Lee about Olympic Borough.

And in the US, Bob Yoder of the Redmond Neighborhood Blog is interviewed by Outside.in, which also gets some tips from Elllie Ashford in Annandale.

Hyperlocal Voices: Hedon Blog (Ray Duffill)

Hyperlocal voices: Hedon Blog

The Hedon Blog covers communities in Hedon, East Yorkshire. Established by Ray Duffill at the beginning of last year, he has since gone on to launch the HU12 site as well. This post is part on the ongoing Hyperlocal Voices series.

Who were the people behind the blog, and what were their backgrounds?

I set the Hedon Blog up after being made redundant from a career in Community Development.

What made you decide to set up the blog?

The Hedon Blog was set up as a hobby to keep my ‘hand-in’ with new social media tools I’d discovered on the web whilst working in my previous job as a Community Development Manager in Blackpool.

Specifically, I wanted to find out if Hedon had any community and voluntary groups operating in the area. On the surface it seemed that very little community activity was going on in the town. That was my initial impression and a view shared by neighbours and relatives who had lived in the area much longer.

The process of setting up the blog and nurturing its development has enabled me to re-discover my home town. Hedon is no longer just the place I live – it’s a place I’m proud of and love!

When did you set up the blog and how did you go about it?

I set up the blog on WordPress.com. It took me two minutes to set up and think of the highly original “Hedon Blog” title.

The first post was written in February 2009. I pressed ‘publish’ and thought “What next?”. I had no plan and no real objectives or goals to aim towards. This is not a model to follow!

Using my legs, eyes and ears I explored and unearthed the ‘undiscovered country’ of a small but thriving community infrastructure in the town. I reported back on my findings on the blog. And, as the ‘word-of-mouth’ spread, then people began sending me in notices of community events and other activities in the town.

What other blogs, bloggers or websites influenced you?

Whilst working in Blackpool I had found about Nick Booth‘s (Podnosh) ‘Social Media Surgeries‘ taking place in Birmingham. Inspired by those, I made an early commitment that I would only use social-media tools that were free, easy to use and share, and that could be easily taught to others.

The internet should be about liberating community news and information. I abide by these ideas with the Hedon Blog. Any community can do what I do – you don’t need shed-loads of dosh in order to obtain an effective online voice. Having financial backing and a friendly geek obviously helps – but they are not essential.

The next major influence was Talk About Local and its first ‘un-conference’ in Stoke. From being an isolated individual I was suddenly part of a major phenomenon that involved people from across the country and the world. We even had a name for what we were doing – hyperlocal!

Adam Westbrook has been the other major influence on the blog’s development. I heard him speak and was inspired by his views on the future of journalism.

Locally, in Hull, digital developer Jon Moss has helped through setting up Hull Digital. Individuals met through this network have offered me enormous encouragement and support.

How did – and do – you see yourself in relation to a traditional news operation?

I obtained Adam Westbrook’s e-book on Newsgathering for Hyperlocal Websites and now run the site as a news gathering operation.

Learning from some of the journalistic methods described in that publication has enabled me to put the blog on a professional footing and achieve a credibility in the eyes of public and private sector organisations (as well as voluntary and community groups) who now regularly supply me with press releases and other material.

In this sense I have ‘borrowed’ from the traditional media those things that can help me promote, inform and help build communities in my town.

What have been the key moments in the blog’s development editorially?

The Hedon Blog now sits as part of a wider website family under the www.hu12.net banner. This means I can concentrate community news via the Hedon Blog but now have an outlet for more contentious and controversial material – and a means to obtain some advertising income.

What sort of traffic do you get and how has that changed over time?

I have grown a local audience largely by word of mouth. In my fist month of operation I got 213 visits (WordPress stats) but get those figures and more every day now with occasional daily spikes of over 500 – 800 visits.

I never approached this from a business or journalist point of view – but rather as a civic duty or community activity. The downside of this approach is the obvious: a lack of income to re-invest in the project and to pay for its main motivating force: Me!

This activity has brought me great pleasure but has been draining on time and personal resources.

Some other online innovators for some other list

Journalism.co.uk have a list of this year’s “leading innovators in journalism and media”. I have some additions. You may too.

Nick Booth

I brought Nick in to work with me on Help Me Investigate, a project for which he doesn’t get nearly enough credit. It’s his understanding of and connections with local communities that lie behind most of the successful investigations on the site. In addition, Nick helped spread the idea of the social media surgery, where social media savvy citizens help others find their online voice. The idea has spread as far as Australia and Africa.

Matt Buck and Alex Hughes

Matt and Alex have been busily reinventing news cartoons for a digital age with a number of projects, including Drawnalism (event drawing), animated illustrations, and socially networked characters such as Tobias Grubbe. Continue reading

Presentation: Law for bloggers and journalists (UK)

Yesterday I hosted a session on law for my MA Online Journalism students, which I thought I would embed below.

Some background: I teach all my sessions in a coffee shop in central Birmingham – anyone can drop in. This week I specifically invited local bloggers, and so the shape of the presentation was very much flavoured by contributions from The Lichfield Blog‘s Philip John; Nick Booth from Podnosh and BeVocal; Talk About Local‘s Nicky Getgood; Hannah Waldram of the Bournville Village BlogGavin Wray, Matthew Mark, and Mike Rawlins of Stoke’s Pits N Pots. The editor of the Birmingham Post Marc Reeves also came for an hour to share his own experiences in the regional press.

Two things occurred to me during the process of preparation and delivery of the session. The first is that law in this context is much broader: as well as the classic areas for journalists such as defamation, you have to take into account online publishing issues such as terms and conditions, data protection and user generated content.

Secondly, I’ve long been an advocate of conversational teaching styles (one of the reasons I teach in a coffee lounge) and this was a great example of that in practice. The presentation below is just a series of signposts – the actual session lasted 4 hours and included various tangents (some of which I’ve incorporated into this published version). Experiences in the group of students and guests ranged across broadcasting, print, photography, online publishing, academic study, and international law, and I came out of the session having learned a lot too.

I hope you can add some more points, examples, or anything I’ve missed. Here it is:

C&binet: The mice that roared. Or at least wrote some things on Post-Its.

I spent today at the hyperlocal C&binet event, organised by Creative Industries MP Sion Simon at the Department for Culture, Media & Sport. I’ve already blogged my thoughts leading up to event but thought I would add some more links and context.

For me, it is significant that this happened at all. Normally these sorts of events are dominated by large publishers with lobbying muscle. Yet here we had a group combining hyperlocal bloggers, successful startups like Facebook, Ground Report, Global Voices and the Huffington Post, social media figures like Nick Booth and Jon Bounds, and traditional organisations like The Guardian, BBC, RSA and Ofcom. Jeff Jarvis pitched into the mix via Skype.

As for the event itself, it began the previous afternoon with a presentation from Enders Analysis, embedded below: Continue reading